PG-13, 2002 (Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston)
The movie, Bruce Almighty
is about a guy who complains about God too often and is given almighty powers to teach him how difficult it is to run the world.
While this movie probably won’t be used by any reputable seminaries in place of Theology 101, it isn’t as irreverent as it could have been. Nor does it take as much license with the self-centered armchair theology so many “other-worldly” films do. Though Bruce’s personal life isn’t the shining example of Christian discipline (he lives with his girlfriend and in one scene uses his newfound power to heighten their sexual experience, though we don’t see this happen), we keep in mind that he doesn’t claim to be a Christian in the first place and acts as perhaps many would if they were in his position. With that in mind, there are more than a few great lines and scenes in this movie to spark various discussions. Here’s one idea:
The Movie Clip:
Start the clip at 1:01:27
as Bruce, with his newfound God-power begins answering prayers via email. (You may want to ASK QUESTIONS 1 & 2 BEFORE SHOWING CLIP.)
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- ASK A FEW: Let’s start with a loaded question: If God loves you so much, why doesn’t He answer all your prayers the way you want?
- ASK A FEW: Share about something you may have begged God for (be honest – sometimes we beg for things!) and didn’t receive. How did it affect your faith? (Or, how did you feel about God?)
Introducing the Clip:
Let’s look at a clip from Bruce Almighty where, with his newfound God-power, he answers prayer requests. In this scene, when Bruce realizes peoples’ prayers keep piling up on his computer, he types “yes” to all requests, saying, “There you go; now everybody’s happy!” The following day we see that with all these prayers answered, while some people have been made rich and happy, one catastrophe after another has occurred around the globe.
End the clip at 1:02:49 as Bruce says, “Bless you…bless all of you!” to his coworkers at a party.
- ASK A FEW: The following day we see that with all these prayers answered, while some people have been made rich and happy, one catastrophe after another has occurred around the globe. Bruce eventually realizes that answering “yes” to everyone didn’t lead to all things good. Looking back on your life, can you see where getting what you want all the time may not have been the best for you or others around you? How so?
- Read the following verses: Matthew 6:5-13; James 1:5-8, and James 5:13-16.
ASK A FEW: What do all these passages have in common?
- ASK A FEW: In His word, God gives us guidelines by which to pray. Give an example from each passage we just read.
Our problem is often that we ask before thinking or counting the cost. We often seek stuff from God before seeking God Himself.
God wants what’s best for us. And because of that, He doesn’t answer all of our requests. (And I’m thankful for that!) Let’s remember that when we pray. And let’s keep His power in perspective and respect His right to keep silent or say “no” to us.
Close in Prayer.